Friday, January 06, 2012

Sounds of Wildlife

We get lots of sounds of wildlife where we live in the high desert of New Mexico. Most common are the sounds of birds. We have the common English sparrow, the red headed house finch, some sort of black bird, several types of doves, ravens, quail, and owls. The owls make some of the most unusual noises we here, and recently we think we are hearing the calls of a pair of great horned owls doing their mating calls. We usually have one of the large birds in our yard doing it's hooo-hooo-hooo while another bird is answering it from a few yards away. The past few nights the hooo-hoooing has been so loud I have been able to hear it from my bedroom. I like the big owls as they do eat lots of mice and rats, but I have heard that they will catch and eat cats and small dogs, too. As I have cats I am very careful to make sure that they are in the house by dark. In fact we only let the two boy cats out. The girl kitten are not allowed out. I wish I could convince the boys to stay in but after several hours of running back and forth between doors and meowing I usually give up and let them out.
I also worry about the coyotes chasing after the cats as they will take cats and small dogs, too. I understand that the coyotes and other wildlife were here before I was and do my darnest to live with them. I see the coyotes sometimes but I am hear them even more. In fact just about any night if you listen long enough you will usually hear some coyote yipping as it calls to the rest of its family. Sometimes it's just one or two howls but other times it goes on and one as they 'sing' to each other. I kind of enjoy hearing them like I do the owls and other birds.
Another of the animal sounds I really enjoy hearing I only hear when we are in the mountains. We hadn't hear an elk bugle for several years until this year when we were cutting firewood last November. We had just finished for the day and were getting into the truck to leave when we heard a weird noise. It was a bull elk bugling near by. An elk bugling is a strange noise and bugle is the only word for the noise they make. This bugle can cause chills to run up and down your spine especially if you have never heard it before. But I love this noise that is usually heard only in the fall when the males are fighting for the females. I wish we had been able to see the elk that was bugling but we didn't. Maybe next time.


  1. We've had an owl in our cottonwood tree, which is right outside our bedroom window. We used to have a family if quail in our neighborhood, but they are gone. I've heard and seen roadrunners while out on my morning walks, and sometimes even coyotes. I hate to hear their frenzied cries because that usually means they have "dinner". Yes, ravens, mockingbirds, and we even have a scrub jay in our neighborhood here in the city! He SHOULD be up in the nearby pinyon forest, but he's been down here for two years now and doesn't seem to have any intention of moving!

  2. We were lucky enough to hear some elk bugling up in the Sacramento Mountains and, you're right, it isn't something that you ever forget.

    Here in the pecan orchards we have coyotes. We also have a rescue cat who insists on going outside. We provide a special snack for all the cats at 3 PM and she comes in then without fail and knows that she is in for the night. It's chancey, though, letting her out.

    This was such an interesting post.